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J Nutr. 2019 Feb 1;149(2):314-322. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy269.

Dietary Supplement Use among Infants and Toddlers Aged <24 Months in the United States, NHANES 2007-2014.

Author information

Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH, Bethesda, MD.
Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, Hyattsville, MD.
Department on Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, School of Medicine, and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA.



Limited nationally representative data are available on dietary supplement (DS) use and resulting nutrient exposures among infants and toddlers.


This study evaluated DS use among US infants and toddlers to characterize DS use, estimate nutrient intake from DSs, and assess trends in DS use over time.


Using nationally representative data from NHANES (2007-2014) and trends over time (1999-2014), we estimated prevalence of DS use and types of products used for US infants and toddlers aged <2 y (n = 2823). We estimated median daily intakes of vitamins and minerals consumed via DSs for all participants aged <2 y, by age groups (0-11.9 mo and 12.0-23.9 mo), and by feeding practices for infants 0-5.9 mo.


Overall, 18.2% (95% CI: 16.2%, 20.3%) of infants and toddlers used ≥1 DS in the past 30 d. Use was lower among infants (0-5.9 mo: 14.6%; 95% CI: 11.5%, 18.1%; 6-11.9 mo: 11.6%; 95% CI: 8.8%, 15.0%) than among toddlers (12-23.9 mo: 23.3%; 95% CI: 20.4%, 26.3%). The most commonly reported DSs were vitamin D and multivitamin infant drops for those <12 mo, and chewable multivitamin products for toddlers (12-23.9 mo). The nutrients most frequently consumed from DSs were vitamins D, A, C, and E for those <2 y; for infants <6 mo, a higher percentage of those fed breast milk than those fed formula consumed these nutrients via DSs. DS use remained steady for infants (6-11.9 mo) and toddlers from 1999-2002 to 2011-2014, but increased from 7% to 20% for infants aged 0-5.9 mo.


One in 5 infants and toddlers aged <2 y use ≥1 DS. Future studies should examine total nutrient intake from foods, beverages, and DSs to evaluate nutrient adequacy overall and by nutrient source.


NHANES; breast milk; dietary supplements; infant formula; infants; toddlers; vitamin D; vitamins

[Available on 2020-02-01]

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